Shared Pain, Double Gain

Garden

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.—GALATIANS 6:2 (NIV)

All my 90-year-old mother thought or talked about was her chronic back pain. Bone thinning and degeneration had caused progressive spinal curvature, and even simple activities had become a struggle.

The doctor wanted to taper off Mom’s narcotic pain medications and prescribed physical therapy. I attended the
sessions. Over a six-week period, the therapist taught Mom exercises she could do every day to help with strength and balance. After notable improvement, she graduated from supervised therapy.

We brought home the yellow stretch bands. Like acquiring a new language, the rest was up to us. I knew it wouldn’t work for me to tell her, “Go do your exercises now.” She needed my encouragement.

Each morning after breakfast, I’d say, “Okay, Mom, time for our exercises.” First came the floor routines. Then we stood with anchored stretch bands in separate hallway doors. As we held the tension for 10 seconds, we’d count: “One, one thousand; two, one thousand…”

After a few months, Mom no longer needed the pain medication, and even I acquired a stronger core and improved posture. What at first had seemed inconvenient became a new habit. Mom’s prescribed exercises benefited us both.

Today's Prayer:

Thank you, Lord, for the blessings we receive as we become more open to engaging in new ways with our loved ones.

Adapted from Strength & Grace: Daily Devotions for Caregivers, a new publication from Guideposts